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Fading Fear, Fueling Faith

April 8, 2020 Dear Praying Partners, Thank you for joining us in prayer for our prodigals and for revival again this Wednesday. We greatly appreciate your support, and the Lord loves His people seeking His face.  Have you read Psalm Thirty-Seven lately? We read it at our supper table a few days ago and it is an amazing psalm. It’s a poem with each verse starting with a letter from the Hebrew alphabet. In the first eight verses, we are told three times by David to fret not. The word “fret” means “to be hot, to be furious, to burn, to become angry, to be kindled, to glow, to blaze up, to heat oneself in vexation, or to be jealous.” It has a negative connotation, indicating a condition of heart that has changed from peaceful reliance on God to being overwrought by anxieties. Why do we, as Christians, fret? What causes erosion of our peace?  The psalmist David gave some answers—the prosperity of the wicked and the success of wrongdoers. In these tumultuous and troublesome days, you have your own list and I have mine: maybe it’s because of problems which are financial, or health-related, or relational, or perhaps because of unresolved issues from childhood, or concerns about the future in general. As you can imagine, there are endless possibilities for why one can fret! We are told not to fret, but this is not a simple “once and done” task. How exactly are we to do it and what does it look like to commit to directing our hearts to a place of peace and not fretting? Notice the verbs that the psalmist uses (emphasis added.) “Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices” (Ps.37: 3-7). The answer actually is found, not in us, but in our God. First, David says to trust: “Trust in the LORD.” This is a fundamental element of our lives. Our faith started at salvation when we first rested in the work of Christ, and it has grown and deepened with each passing day as we walk with our God. When God calls us to go through difficult times, one of the main reasons He does so is to strengthen and deepen our confidence in Him. We will never overcome our fears and concerns by ignoring or denying them. Instead, we take them to the only One who can overcome them—our Lord. When we lay them at His feet and focus our attention on Him, His sovereignty over our situation and His tender love for us in what we’re going through, we give His peace more control over us.  David also tells us to delight in our God: “Delight yourself in the LORD.” This means to continually fill our minds with the fullness of who God is. God is awesome and able to flood our beings with the wonder of His greatness. He is bigger, greater, and higher than our minds can possibly comprehend. He wants us to delight in His holiness.  Think of those fiery angelic beings surrounding His throne, calling out, “Holy, holy, holy.” Delight yourself in the gentleness of Jesus as He picked up children and gave them His full attention. Revel in the unfathomable love of your heavenly Father who was willing to give all for you.  As we delight in Him, the concerns which fuel our fretting will fade. As we choose to fill our minds with the greatness of our God, our faith will increase.  David also reminds us to commit: “Commit your way to the LORD.” The word, “commit” comes from a root word meaning “to roll oneself.” It is the active, visible expression of what it means to trust. One of the activities at our annual men’s retreat is the trust fall: you stand on a raised platform and then fall backward into the arms of ten or so men who are standing on the ground ready to catch you so you don’t hit the ground. Once you let yourself go and fall back, you commit yourself to the strength and care of those doing the catching.  This same commitment is what we need to do with the Lord—to roll our needs, our problems, our trials, our fears onto the Lord. He is the Almighty God, strong enough to keep us from falling and to take care of everything that has been weighing us down. He wants this committing to be the default of our life. Lastly, David says to be still and wait: “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him.” The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing us to stop our busy rushing, to stay still in our homes, and in this stillness, we come face-to-face with a choice. With so many reasons to fear and fret, we can choose to allow the fear to control our hearts or we can choose to commit our fears and ourselves to the only One who is able to hold us in His peace. As we delight in Him and focus on who He is, as we trust in His love and strength, our fretting will subside and our faith will grow. This can be a time for us to meditate, reflect, and enjoy the presence of our glorious God as we wait for Him to do His work. Our ultimate wait is for the exaltation and reign of Christ. But until then, let’s rest in His presence and let His peace rule in our hearts. Love in Christ, Bryan and Rachel


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